The J’s Jess Tye of Sunrise Beach was one of the volunteers who helped the fire evacuees settle in for the night after fleeing the flames.
The J’s Jess Tye of Sunrise Beach was one of the volunteers who helped the fire evacuees settle in for the night after fleeing the flames.

Volunteers step up in time of need

THERE is nothing like a ­baptism of fire for steeling the resolve of Noosa Council’s volunteers who stepped up to house hundreds of residents at hastily activated evacuation centres this week.

The J’s Jess Tye of Sunrise Beach said she had not been “activated” to respond for the real deal before Monday’s fire flare-ups at Peregian.

“In fact we were having training for it today,” Jess said after helping bed down everyone for the night, before returning in the morning.

“We’ve got a three-hour class (scheduled).”

That was postponed as they seem to have passed the test with flying colours responding to the real deal.

“I got the call (to come back in to work) at 6 o’clock — I was cooking diner,” Jess said.

“We came in and one of the first people to arrive was (Deputy Mayor) Frank ­Wilkie who started to do the (evacuee) registration.”

The councillor and ­Peregian Beach resident was among those forced to evacuate with little warning.

“It was really busy here … more than 300 people were registered and we ended up opening the (Noosa) Leisure Centre,” Jess said.

Everyone handled their emergency ordeal thanks to the restorative power of tea and coffee, and residents were raving about the camaraderie and quality of care.

“People just wanted information,” Jess said.

“We had the police here and they were really good …

“People were calling up and wanted to know if their loved ones and family were here.

“There were a lot of old folk here without mobile phones, or could not remember their number.

“It was a case of sit down and have a cup of team and remember your number.”